Leman Swine Conf: Taking lessons from Vietnam to combat potential ASF outbreak in the US

SHIC’s observations in Vietnam as they actively combat African Swine Fever (ASF) in their country
calendar icon 1 November 2021
clock icon 2 minute read

Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), discussed SHIC’s observations in Vietnam with The Pig Site's Sarah Mikeselll at the 2021 Leman Swine Conference held in September in the USA.

Using a 2019 grant from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, SHIC observed the following aspects of pork production in Vietnam:

  • Transmission
  • Control techniques
  • Pathways of entry
  • Laboratory tools (e.g. to test for antibodies)
  • Feed risk in transportation

“We’re trying to learn in Vietnam during a real live outbreak, so we don’t have to repeat that. We can save a lot of time, should we get to that spot in the U.S.,” said Sundberg.

What outcomes will producers see from these observations?

One example of a practice SHIC observed in Vietnam was “tooth extraction.” Essentially, this is the process of identifying the first sow in the barn with an infection, and removing both her and the contact animals out to attempt to save the rest of the barn.

Tooth extraction is effective in some cases. However, in situations where the disease gets ahead of producers, they aren’t able to remove infected sows. Because of this, the process requires more testing to become viable. One of the factors involved with tooth extraction is the number of diagnostics producers have to do to identify sick pigs.

Another example are “pen site tests,” or tests on the site of pig contact, comparing them for sensitivity and specificity.

In regards to bringing these tactics over to the US, Sundberg said, “I’m hopeful that producers will never have to use them. But we’ve got the guns there just in case.”

The biggest step will be making sure the USDA updates their policies to allow for these new ASF protection measures, as many of them run counter to current guidelines.

Timothy Wier

Timothy Wier is a content writer and marketer based in Nashville, TN. He is the founder of FEARLESS Content Group and has written for a number of brands both inside and outside of agriculture.

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